If you think about our startup Duroplan, there are 3 buzz words you should remember: solar, heat and AI. What do you get when when you combine them all? Durocan.
First things first. Joining :agile accelerator team in 2016, Duroplan founders Freek Raymakers and Rik van Bavel had only one vision – to develop a revolutionary home heating system based on solar power. Using existing technologies for solar and thermal storage, they created a self-learning system called Durocan that stores the excess of generated electricity from solar panels as heat thus allowing them to deliver less power to the grid and optimize the self-consumption of a household.
After a number of tests and 15-months-long trial of the first prototype and an investment from :agile accelerator, Durocan got ready for its final challenge. Putting the gained knowledge to the test, the team started a pilot of their first pre-production model with 10 households in the Netherlands. The field test intends to gain experience in different types of homes and households and analyze the effect the system has on electricity grid.
Now the most important part - how does it all work? Durocan controls the power and heat supply completely automatically. It is a self-learning energy management system that works in conjunction with an innovative storage tank and heat pump. With the aid of the heat pump it stores excess solar power as heat in the storage tank and releases heat on demand. The smart management checks household electricity and heating consumption. In addition, it uses weather forecast data from the closest weather station to predict how much power will be generated by PV and how much heat is needed in the next days. As a result, Durocan is able to store heat for several days, thus providing residents with sufficient hot water and heat for a lower price.
The field test is the final phase of Durocan's development before the system is commercially launched. “The goal of the pilot is to test Durocan in a variety of single family households and houses and learn about different influences such as household size, behavior, building and insulation variables”, says co-founder Rik van Bavel. “By working together with Dutch grid operator Stedin we can also test the effects of reducing peaks in the electricity grid.”
Although Duroplan did not run any marketing campaigns, there was a number of energy enthusiasts who reached out to the team willing to participate in the pilot. No wonder. With innovation-driven energy industry, everyone wants to sit in a driver’s chair. Whether it’s an energy provider, revolutionary startup or the customer itself.